Seven things to know before you grow cannabis outdoors
If it's your first time attempting to grow cannabis, an outdoor option is a good one. For starters, it's relatively inexpensive; no added electricity or energy costs, ventilation systems or special equipment are needed. Secondly, growing outside allows you to grow big plants that can potentially yield a large harvest.
Whether you're a first-time gardener or not, you don't have to be an expert to get started – but you do need a well-informed plan. Read on to learn the seven things you need to know before you grow outside. Before all else though, always be sure to keep cannabis plants out of reach from children and pets.
1. Your outdoor should start indoors.
Seed germination can take around 2-7 days and should be done indoors, especially if you live in a northern climate. You're looking to produce a bigger yield, and you'll need to begin the germination process sooner to give the plants enough time to grow; the bigger the plant, the greater the potential harvest.
Tip: Although bigger plants typically yield a larger harvest, smaller plants are easier to manage, so keep that in mind, especially you're a first-time grower.
2. Choosing the right location is vital to plants' vitality.
When picking a spot to grow your cannabis plants, take into consideration:
Temperature: Although cannabis plants are adaptive to different weather conditions, they are still susceptible to extreme temperatures. Cannabis plants shouldn't be grown at temperatures below 12°C or anything above 30°C for sustained periods.
Sunlight: Cannabis plants need plenty of sunlight. When picking a location, consider that the plant needs a minimum of 5 hours of direct sunlight and 5 hours of indirect sunlight each day.
Shelter: Choose a location that allows you to easily shelter your plant from temperamental weather such as strong winds or rain. Or, consider growing in a pot that can be moved indoors if the weather takes a turn.
Tip: To help protect the plant on colder nights, consider using a hoop house.
3. Do research on genetics before deciding what to grow.
Environmental considerations should be carefully weighed when choosing a strain as some genetics are more adaptive to different climates. For example, Sativa and Indica have other growing traits: Indica-dominant strains are typically more adaptive to colder environments. In contrast, Sativa- dominant strains can be better suited for hot and humid climates.
4. Plant either in the ground or in movable containers
Growing in the ground provides the benefits of added nutrients only if the soil is high-quality. If you choose this route, be prepared to test the quality of the soil to ensure it's adequate for growing. On the other hand, containers give you control over the quality of the soil while providing flexibility throughout the day – allowing you to relocate the plants into the sun or shade easily.
5. Don't skimp on the soil.
When shopping for soil, look for one that is light in texture and has balanced water retention. Cannabis plants always need both water and oxygen at the roots to grow. Too much water and the roots can't get enough oxygen, but not enough water retention and the roots can be damaged from drying out too quickly.
6. Avoid overwatering
When watering the plants, make sure to water thoroughly, then wait until the first one to two inches of soil is dry before you go about watering again. Because tap water can contain high levels of chlorine or dissolved minerals, which can build up in the soil and affect the pH level or eliminate valuable microorganisms, it's advisable to test the water quality or use filtered water instead.
7. Keep a grow journal to track your plants' progress.
Growing cannabis is a learning process, especially when first starting. Documenting the development of your plants, which may include pictures of the plants at various stages and detailing each step you performed along the way, will allow you to look back and learn from your mistakes, helping to increase the harvest the next time around.
Please note that although it's legal in Ontario to grow up to 4 cannabis plants in your dwelling-house, readers of this article should review and comply with all applicable laws regarding the growth and possession of cannabis. Remember that means four plants per household, not per person. The content provided in this article is for general information purposes only. It does not constitute legal or other professional advice or an opinion of any kind.